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10 Fun Activities to Do with Your Baby

 

New babies spend a whole lot of time sleeping, eating, or crying. But when one of those isn't happening--then what? What to do with this adorable creature who doesn't yet walk or talk?

We've gathered some of our favorite ways to entertain baby and support her development during the first year.

  1. Take a House Tour
  2. a mom walking around the house with her baby

    Once they're about three months (or sometimes younger) babies start to be completely fascinated by the world around them. What's boring and old hat to you could be completely enthralling to them. Walk with baby around the house, noting objects that catch her eye and naming them. Plants and other natural objects can be especially captivating.

  3. Massage Your Baby
  4. a baby getting her foot massaged

    Infant massage has taken off in recent years, thanks to its ability to calm baby, relieve gas, and bond parent and child. Take a class, and/or read this book for strokes and tips. Dr. Sears' "I love you" belly stroke can be a good place to start. A food-grade oil like coconut or olive can be good for baby's skin, but always test a little on a small spot on her before diving in.

    Also check out our How To Massage a Baby video guide.

  5. Sing with Hand Gestures
  6. a mom singing to her baby

    There's a reason songs like "Itsy Bitsy Spider" have endured. Babies are often captivated by the "spider" climbing that "spout" and don't mind seeing it happen over and over. Sing favorites like that and "Pop Goes the Weasel" and make up some of your own.

  7. Narrate Your Day
  8. mom talking with her baby

    The more you talk to your baby, the stronger their verbal skills will be. Don't think she needs to understand to feel included. If you need to clean out your closet, for example, you can hold up maternity dresses to be given away, explain where you got them and where they'll go now. You'll get away with completing a task and baby will bond with you and build her words--win, win.

  9. Get an Activity Gym
  10. a baby activity gym

    Even before babies can swat and grab, they can touch with their eyes. These engaging "gyms" give them a whole lot to do from the very beginning. And once those hands do start reaching, they'll have a blast (and you can go pee or make a sandwich).

    Check it out on Amazon.com

  11. Try a Scarf Dance
  12. a red scarf

    You can do this with a scarf or a swaddle, "dancing" it above baby. He can grab at it, try to eat it, and generally marvel at its ability to change shapes. And it can talk if you animate it, turning it into any kind of creature you can imagine.

  13. Do Tummy Time
  14. a baby having tummy time

    With the "Back to Sleep" SIDS prevention campaign, babies spend tons of times on their backs, which is good, but can cause weak upper body muscles and flat spots on the head. To counter those drawbacks, enter tummy time. Several times a day, for as long as baby can handle without getting too fussy, gently place her on her belly and get down with her so you can smile and encourage her. You can also set up a book wall so she can check out vibrant book covers and eventually crawl over to them.

  15. Boogie Down
  16. mom dancing with her baby

    Crank up your favorite tunes--they don't have to be kid songs at all, though perhaps something gentler than death metal--and groove around with baby. You can dance while holding her and also lie her down and move her limbs to the rhythm so she can put the beat and her body together. It'll leave you both smiling--and give you some exercise too.

  17. Read Books
  18. a mom reading a book to her baby

    It's never too early to begin reading together. Start with board books without much text and with big bright images--or one of those crinkle books (we're fans of Jellycat's "Tails" series). He'll start logging vocab and you'll have a nice time bonding. Studies show that kids who were read to at an earlier age have higher IQs and a boost in life.

  19. Do Yoga
  20. a mom doing yoga with her baby

    This wonderful book, Itsy Bitsy Yoga, shows how you can do yoga with even the littlest of babies. It's incredibly gentle and simple, but poses can ease digestion. Try a pose a day.

 

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